I Angered General Choi’s Grand Daughter And A Bunch of ITFer’s

        Just a couple of days ago my blog got a lot of traffic from ITF people who are upset at my article about General Choi’s Juche communist sympathies. Jasmine Choi, the late grandmaster general Choi’s granddaughter also posted a comment in sheer anger with many insults about my character. Her and several ITF masters posted a lot of comments and are still doing it if you want to check that post out and read the fun.

This is what Jasmine Choi posted on my article in the comments section:

Wow. Just wow. I cannot believe the garbage I’m reading. You are extremely uneducated about ITF and about General Choi. Imbeciles like you should need to concentrate on whatever “art” you are doing and stop obsessing about someone that is deceased. And you stating General Choi holding hands with Kim Jung Il is ABSURD!!!!!!!! Maybe you need your eyes checked or you’re really that delusional clearly they are not holding hands. Get a life and continue training whatever art you practice I saw the photo of you,you look like I would be able to beat you in sparring. Not sure if you were bullied in highschool but you definitely have small man syndrome. In the martial art as a whole we address other Grandmasters and Masters either by Grandmaster,Master,etc.. or at LEAST Mr whether they are your enemy or not. It’s standard protocol. You have no respect and are spreading this nonsense to guilable readers. Such a lengthy garbage article you must have a lot of time on your hands. Who are you anyway??? Who gives you the right to write this slandering article?! Also,if someone has a photo standing beside someone means they are best friends?!? Politicians that are enemies take photos together so what?! You are extremely juvenile and I’m convinced you are a pink belt of whatever martial art you are taking up. Let my grandfather rest in piece you disrespectful little keyboard warrior. (sic)

With this happening I feel the need to further clarify my personal stance on Choi Hong Hi and the International Taekwon-Do Federation. I do not recant anything I said in previous posts, but I will further clarify my beliefs briefly. I think that if I make statements about what I believe to be historical facts and truth people who do not agree need to address them civilly with me instead of insults. All the ITF and Jasmine Choi did was insult me with name calling and straw man arguments. They did not once address the claims I made. Also they deny that in one photo General Choi is holding hands with Kim Jung Il. I personally see them holding hands in the photo. Either that or they are standing extra close! Either way it is obvious General Choi supported North Korea and did not have a problem with Kim Jung Il.

The reason I started this blog was because I dedicated my life to Taekwondo training and worked so hard to get where I am today. I love Taekwondo and I am tired of seeing it become weak and I also hate seeing it insulted by ignorant masses. Taekwondo is the butt of almost every martial art joke by so many styles of martial arts. Within Taekwondo there is a war with ITF and people who train in WTF/Kukkiwon style. Yes, maybe the heads f ITF and Kukkiwon have diplomatic meetings but the culture inside ITF and its practitioners so extremely harsh to the Kukkiwon, WTF, South Korea and practitioners of Kukki-Taekwondo. This is annoying and for decades ITF people have constantly bad mouthed South Korea, WTF and Kukkiwon and claim people who train in our style are not true fighters or real martial artists. That all we do is a sport. ITF has spouted so many logical fallacies and insults about our martial art it is time someone like me defends it and fights back not pulling any punches. The ITF can disrespect so much about Taekwondo people while claiming their Taekwon-Do is the only truth, yet they cannot receive equal and just criticism. They can dish it out but cannot take it. They are overly sensitive. WTF and Kukki stylists have taken so much trash we have only developed way thicker skin. This is something people like Jasmine Choi and ITF followers need as well. She and her followers will insult me and claim I am not respectful enough to be a master yet she herself is insulting and being respectful on my blog. She has posted a bunch of name calling insults to me and wrongful judgments about my character. Yet she is the daughter of a master and acts this way and claims I should not be a master? This is hypocritical.

I assumed she must have been an ITF master ranked practitioner but according to her Facebook page on various comments on some of her photos it is stated that she does not actually train in Taekwon-Do and has not for over 20 years. She does aerobics or something. So she is not at all a master of martial arts yet she wants to lecture people about being a master. According to ITF you are only a master at 6th or 7th dan I believe and that takes a long time. She is only 35 years old and has not trained for 20 years. That means she had to have quit training as a teenager. No way she is a master of Taekwon-Do or any martial art. Her sole authority lays on her being a member of the Choi family. That is not impressive.

The ITF has always vehemently opposed the Kukkiwon yet time and time again the KTA and Kukkiwon give them a voice and want to meet and create some kind of diplomacy. It never works out. Nothing seems to appease ITF. We don’t need ecumenical attitudes anymore. Just be separate and do our own thing.

Now we have MMA onlyists who think all traditional martial arts sucks especially Taekwondo bad mouthing our martial art. I try my best to defend Taekwondo as a true fighting art that is not only good for self defense, but capable in MMA competition. But to do it honestly I have to also criticize all mcdojang groups and even the wrong things I see the Kukkiwon do from time to time. This blog does not only attack the ITF. In fact ITF posts are not the majority of what I post on my blog. I spend more time criticizing other mcdojang organizations. I also openly criticize the Kukkiwon when it does things I think are ridicuous. Especially Taekwondo dancing and other nonsense. I have always wanted to promote Taekwondo as a martial art, a real fighting system that we can be proud of training in without feeling embarrassed to admit it. Mcdojangism needs to stop. I did not spend over 20 years of my life wasting my time in a dance style or something that cannot save my life if it is threatened. I trained hard in Taekwondo fighting to stand up against bullies and other types of threats. Kukki-Taekwondo has only made me strong both physically and mentally. It works! It is a true martial art. A true fighting art.

With that being said, this is what I believe about General Choi. Take it or leave it!

General Choi was one of the founders of Taekwondo. He was very influential in the early stages especially on the name of Taekwondo. It is debatable if he came up with the name by himself or he simply used a suggested name by one of his associates who brought it up. No matter, he is the one who promoted the name Taekwondo and if it was not for this we would not be training in a martial art with this name. The KTA changed the name from Taekwondo to Tae Soo Do and General Choi influenced them to change it back. I thank him for this as Taekwondo is the best name for our martial art. On the other hand Choi later emphasized the name has to be spelled in English as “Taekwon-Do” which has no grammatical purpose and has nothing to do with original Korean language. Hangul has no hyphens and it is not necessary to translate into English. He changed the spelling to simply differentiate his style as something other than what the KTA and Kukkiwon were doing.

General Choi deserves credit where it is due and he deserves acknowledgement as a historic Taekwondo figure. He heavily promoted kwan unification with other founders and wanted to promote a truly Korean martial art. That is the only respect I can give him.

General Choi had the intention of what the Kukkiwon says is “a power man.” He wanted full control with no question of the KTA. This is why the KTA masters asked him to resign and forced him to step down. He had the attitude of a dictator within the KTA and had a huge ego. The other kwan leaders did not like this nor should they have.

General Choi did sympathize with Juche philosophy (which is North Korean communism) as he named a form with that name. He moved to North Korea and died there. He is buried there and given high honor by North Korea. I think this is wrong and the ITF should openly declare what Kim Jung Eun is doing is wrong. Because of the Kim dynasty millions of North Koreans starved to death and many South Koreans were murdered and many soldiers both South Korean and Americans died fighting this evil. Now we have constant nuclear threats by a crazed lunatic in North Korea, and the ITF simply wants to be diplomatic and kind to them and allow North Korean ITF to come to various countries (including USA) to do demonstrations. Screw that! How can ITF justify Choi going to North Korea to teach them martial arts, essentially teaching their soldiers how to fight better which will in turn be used to kill defectors in North Korea, and South Korean and US soldiers if there is another fight. How is this okay? Explain it Jasmine Choi and explain it ITF! Was it really to unify both Korea’s in peace by teaching them killing techniques? How so? How is this a peace mission and not a slight at South Korea?

General Choi was a 2 star general when he was president of KTA but he was not a martial arts master. There is no evidence to support he had a master rank in Japanese Karate under Funikoshi. The only rank people can argue for is up to 2nd dan, yet there is not sufficient evidence to support he has a black belt when he was trying to run the KTA. The official Kukkiwon stance that I learned while in Korea taking their course is that Choi was in fact not actually a black belt and instead self trained without a dojo. He was given an honorary 4th dan black belt by Duk Sung Son of the Chungdokwan. That means he was given an honorary rank and not a skilled and tested rank through an actual promotion test. Duk Sung Son later recanted that and openly wrote in a news paper that he revoked Choi’s 4th dan because he was upset at Choi’s attitude and Choi literally demanded he be given a 5th dan rank. So Choi was not happy with honorary 4th dan and demanded even more rank. That is ego. So as he started the ITF he had no real rank by a legitimate grandmaster to fall back on such as Funikoshi like other founders of Taekwondo. Most of the other founders of Taekwondo who are usually ignored by ITF members when giving credit to people actually were legitimate martial arts masters and had 4th and 5th degree black belts. Some also studied for may years Chinese martial arts and were masters of Kung Fu styles. Choi did not have such skills or any ranks. Choi came up with a name, but skill and technique-wise he did not create Taekwondo.

ITF is not the only true organization of Taekwondo. It is simply an organization of another style of martial arts apart from Korea. The Korean government recognizes Kukki-Taekwondo as their national martial art much like Japan’s government officially recognized Japanese Karate such as Shotokan and others as official Japanese martial arts. Black belts have always been recognized and affirmed by the government of the country the martial arts were founded in. Going back to Japanese Karate all the way to Korean Taekwondo, the black belt certifications have always been government recognized. It is a very important thing and the KTA was (and Kukkiwon now is) officially recognized by the Korean government. ITF is not. ITF is recognized by Canada’s government making it a Canadian organization. Later North Korea recognizes it.

I do not think Choi completely sucked at martial arts. Sure he had skills but he was not good enough to found a martial art style when he did. The ITF does have some legitimate martial arts techniques such as basic kicks and punches etc. but I do not think their forms were put together well and Choi creating the sine-wave shows he really did not understand proper physics or actual combat very well. The other masters of various kwans actually were real fighters and knew combat. Even so I personally do practice some ITF forms such as Hwa Rang and a few others I like. I also understand that the KTA in early promotion tests accepted a couple of Choi’s tul as testable material for rank. Historic Taekwondo forms are always something I am interested in learning.

ITF does have some good fighters. For instace Coner McGregor has an ITF background and is a black belt and uses ITF style Taekwon-Do techniques in the UFC. Many of the techniques are also similar to Kukki-Taekwondo techniques. So I may not personally like the ITF but I do not deny some of their people are good at fighting or that some of their techniques can work. I have always maintained this position ever since I started this blog. Yet, Kukki/WTF has had people like Anderson Silva (one of the best fighters of all time in MMA) with training history and black belt ranks.

I do not think Taekwondo needs to be ecumenical and support all of the organizations. I think separation is best. ITF can do its own thing and stay out of our business and we can do the same to them. But they should stop acting like they are the sole truth of Taekwondo and should only claim they are their own style.

I will not support ITF because of its historic ties to North Korea and Juche communism. My article has all the information on that and anyone can read it.

If the ITF and people like Jasmine Choi can only name call, ridicule, straw man, and use various other logical fallacies to argue their case then that is pathetic and only shows ITF acts like a cult and needs to chill out. If it wasn’t for her being related to General Choi she would be just another woman who used to train as a teenager. There are many people like that. Her being related to General Choi does not prove her correct or true. She needs to argue logically and politely with me if she wants to debate something. That goes for all ITF people who disagree with me. Don’t be a hypocrite and say I am disrespectful therefore I am not a true Taekwondo master yet do the same thing to me while claiming to be an important Taekwondo figure.

My blog may be extremely critical about the ITF (something I never hide), but it is also very critical of things that the Kukkiwon does and WTF and other groups as well. I do not refrain from expressing my opinion about Taekwondo and martial arts no matter my allegiance. I am Kukki-Taekwondo and ranked as a master and proud of it. I fully believe Kukkiwon is the true Korean Taekwondo organization, but yet I will not refrain from often criticizing them for things I don’t agree with that they do (and there are plenty!).

The ITF has yet to prove me wrong about my claims on General Choi’s communist sympathy.

Again, I will declare General Choi Hong Hi, 2 star general, first president of the KTA and “namer” of the martial art of Taekwondo, deserves credit as one of the founders of Taekwondo and promotion of Korean martial arts. But that is all. Nothing else he did benefited our martial art but instead himself and the ITF.

 

Quick Update 2016

        Just a quick update. I will post new things soon enough. I have been pretty busy training, passing the FIC, training in Filipino martial arts in the Philippines and moving. I will post more about my experiences taking the Kukkiwon Foreign Instructor’s Course and Taekwondo training as well as my experiences training in Ensayo Kali in the Philippines. So stay tuned for that. I have been sick for awhile and I am recovering and doing various things.

Here is a short video made by my friend Abby who runs a Korea Vlogging channel on YouTube. We visited the Kukkiwon together:

Sexual Gay Taekwondo Dancing At Kukkiwon Hanmadang

        It never ends. Why….why do they keep doing this! I filmed this today at the Kukkiwon. This was during the World Taekwondo Hanmadang 2016. They literally call the event Taekwondo Aerobics. Like an event for dancing and aerobic exercise which includes drama with props and stuff sometimes.

Yep, this is the direction the Kukkiwon is going…and they wonder why they lose so many students to MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other martial arts. Taekwondo black belts fit more into the drama club than anywhere else. This is some seductive and flamboyant crap.

I don’t have to agree with everything the Kukkiwon does or allows. I don’t.

I Completed The Kukkiwon International Instructors Course

        I completed this 51st Kukkiwon International Instructors Course for 2016 in Korea. It was held in the Kukkiwon itself in Gangnam in Seoul. Here is a video of what I was able to film. I really had no time to take many photos or videos during the training so all of the really cool stuff I could not film which is too bad. It was 5 days of lack of sleep for me and intense heat and hard work. I will never forget it. I am satisfied to claim I have completed master training for Taekwondo.

What I learned I will be able to take with me into my teaching in my future dojang. Not a lot of Taekwondo teachers have what I have since I was blessed enough to go to Korea.

My completion certificate and my new Kukkiwon/WTA dobok. Awesome!

Hwang In Shik is 73 years old and can still kick above his head like a maniac and do extreme cardio conditioning. 

I will post more details about the course later when I have more time. There are a lot of things to talk about and I feel motivated about the direction the Kukkiwon is taking Taekwondo. We were even taught by many famous Kukkiwon masters. Some of the guys I have seen in videos were there in person! I met Grandmaster Hwang In Shik and others.

 

Is Taekwondo A Respected Martial Art In Korea?

        We all know Taekwondo does not get much respected around the world, but what about inside Korea? Do Koreans themselves respect their country’s #1 martial art style? I just want to give some quick thoughts during my time in Korea and to update a bit on what I have been doing.

        The truth is Taekwondo is not really respected in Korea and 90% of Koreans do not take it seriously or think it i an effective fighting system. I have talked to many adult Koreans about this and they all think Taekwondo is pointless or unimportant. When Korea itself has a lack of love for their nations national fighting art we know Taekwondo is in bad shape. Most adults will take up boxing or Jiujitsu instead of Taekwondo. Heck, hardly any even do Hapkido either. Taekwondo is seen as a child’s exercise. It is something for the moms to drop their kids off after school between going to hagwons (private academies for extra studying). A large amount of Korean kids are pushed to study school subjects all day even to late hours in the night. This gives kids an hour or less basically to do some physical activity. Most Taekwondo classes consist of kids jumping rope to kpop, techno, and hip hop music for at least 15 minutes. This gives the sabum much time to waste in his or her office where he gets paid to not teach anything. After they waste time jumping rope they may go over some punches or blocks and a few kicks. After that they may play a game with a ball or sit around and waste time. Even the people who claim to be real true martial arts masters of the Kukkiwon seem to do this. They literally teach the children for about 20 minutes total each class. The rest is spent jumping rope, sitting around for a “break” (oh they must be soooooo tired after all that lazy rope skipping in the mirror and talking they just did) and playing games like soccer or something. It seems like a necessity for every Taekwondo master to own a bouncy castle which they set up from time to time on occasions. I saw this with my own eyes.

        There are hardly any adults who actually train in Taekwondo seriously. The rest just casually do it for working out and never want to make any kind of body contact. They do not want to one step spar, practice hoshinsool or do any kyureugi. The serious adults who like martial arts will end up training in something real like MMA. The most popular martial art in Korea by far right now is not Taekwondo. It is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. After that comes MMA or boxing.

        There are teenagers and young adults who do Taekwondo as a demonstration for theatrical performance art. These black belts and masters specialize in acrobatics and dancing. They are not strong. There is an extreme lack of strong people in Taekwondo. People who have power and abilities for fighting. I talked to a Korean who practiced Kyokushin Karate and was a 2nd dan and he expressed a lot of anger about Taekwondo. There is a bitterness and frustration to many Koreans who like true martial arts about Taekwondo. He told me that the old masters of Taekwondo are very concerned that there are no longer any strong black belts in Taekwondo and they are all weak.

        Many older people I talked to about martial arts in my English classes were confused as to why I came to Korea to learn “real Taekwondo.” I now understand why as even I have become confused as to why I made this journey. Well I am not actually confused, I am just disappointed. Anything I came here to learn about “actual fighting” has never came about. I had to join MMA to actually learn combat. Anything I learned in Korea could have been learned in the United States. I could have found a Kukkiwon master who knows the current KTA standards in the USA instead of coming all the way to Korea. In Korea all that seems to be taught is poomsae half assed, and many repititions of moves in a mirror which I could have done by myself at home and not paid money for.

        Koreans know the truth. Taekwondo is not being taught for realistic fighting. The few masters who care about this have no power to change anything or simply do not care. The leaders of Taekwondo have no vision and are more concerned with money and spreading Korean culture worldwide and making Taekwondo into some corporate club for Korean nationalism that has nothing to do with fighting. In fact the culture of Korea you learn in Taekwondo or through dojangs and memberships or tournaments is not actual Korean culture. To really learn Korean culture you must live here for awhile and understand Korea is a cold and bitter place more often than not. If you want to learn Korean culture then learn Korean culture. If you want to learn martial arts you must study fighting. Taekwondo does not have enough fighting study in the dojangs around the world, especially in Korea. It is simply a way to make money for young masters who have dreams of running large Korean daycare centers that teach kids to kick things sometimes. This is really a shame.

        One that I feel sad about is the lack of Kukkiwon fighters. Where are our fighting champions who will prove this art is real? All we have are the latest Olympic champions of WTF sparring that absolutely nobody cares about outside of WTF Taekwondo. Ask people who Steven Lopez is. Nobody knows or gives a crap. And most certainly the average Korean has no clue who he is either. Korean kids and teenagers know who soccer players and baseball players are. Not who is a Taekwondo master who has accomplished anything.

        I have since walked away from my dojang in Korea and dedicated the rest of my Korean training in MMA from my Korean MMA and Jijitsu instructor who actually teaches me how to fight. The rest of my Taekwondo time in Korea will be spent studying and learning in the Kukkiwon Foreign Instructor Course and watching the World Hanmadang. I could not compete in the Hanmadang because the website was too dang confusing and by the time I tried to sign up it was past the registration date. Oh well.

        Taekwondo is respected in Korea only as some cultural heritage Koreans do as kids, or to show off demonstrations and eventually become kpop dance stars. Other than that nobody cares. The martial arts enthusiasts here simply do not care about Taekwondo very much. The few who do, the fighters who do MMA, the old masters, simply do not have enough power or influence to change this or they are simply keeping their mouths shut and allowing all of this nonsense to happen because of some cultural reason westerners do not understand. Why would old masters not talk about the problems of Taekwondo today and why do they all all of the stupid things such as Taekwon-dancing, and Olympic leg fencing to go on? Do they not realize the loss of popularity Taekwondo has suffered and the authoritative influence of the Kukkiwon is waning in foreign lands? Even with these problems I still fully 100% support the Kukkiwon as the authoritative organization of Taekwondo, to give rank and the historic linage of Taekwondo unifying through it. It seems it may take foreigners like me to openly talk about this and try to influence Koreans to start making Taekwondo a respected self defense system that actually works, and a fighting system. I hope more people start talking which will influence Koreans to openly talk and make a change. There are far too many lazy instructors who don’t care and half ass teach their students, and many corporate white collar types trying to make money. They need new leadership.

How To Get To The Kukkiwon In Korea

        If you are ever going to visit Korea you are probably going to go to the Kukkiwon at some point since you are a Taekwondoin. It is absolutely easy to get to the Kukkiwon once you know where it is. The first time I found the Kukkiwon I randomly walked into on on accident in Gangnam. I have since been there a few times doing whatever, namely to go to the Mooto and KSD store. Here is a video about how to find the Kukkiwon.

Basically take subway line 2. It is the light green line. You want to go to Gangnam Station. Once you get to Gangnam station go to exit 12 and walk up the steps. Once you get outside keep waking straight. You will see a McDonalds and Daiso store on the left. Keep walking to the first crosswalk. Do not cross the street. Instead turn left up the steps on the corner. There is a thrift store type fashion store with clothes outside right there. When you turn left up the street stay on that side and walk straight up. The street is a steep hill. You will walk right next to a Mooto store. Feel free to check it out and buy stuff. Or look and come back and buy stuff. Then you will see a park with a pavilion on the left. Keep walking. You will see the Kukkiwon gate, that is the sign you are basically there. Walk up the hill more and take the low road. The high road will take you beside the building and it will not be a good experience. You want to see the Kukkiwon straight on in the front for your first time to get the proper experience. Once you take the low road you will walk right in front of the Kukkiwon and you can walk up the walkway to the front steps.

After that you can check out the Kukkiwon and explore the halls and the dojang floor. It is usually set up like a theater with a stage since they do so many demonstration shows with theatrics. You cannot actually train there. After that go explore the outside grounds and see some rock monuments dedicated to the Olympics and things like that. You can walk around the whole building and behind it there is a pavilion that is nice to sit in and take photos. Behind that is a small fitness park for old Korean people. Across the front parking lot there is an area you can get a few of part of Gangnam with some sky scrapers and things. There is another small fitness park there. Behind the Kukkiwon on the left side the the Taekwondo museum which has a lot of Olympic trinkets and artifacts. It is actually quite boring since it has nothing to do with fighting or interesting stuff except joining the Olympic games. But I have to say there are some old doboks of world champions and some old sparring gear to look at. Other than that there is some faulty Korean history that is simply not true about Taekwondo and a lot of things dedicated to Dr. Un Young Kim. The best thing in the museum are the original Kwan seals on brass plates. It has all 9 kwans listed with their original spellings in English and insignia. Very cool and that is the main reason to go into the museum.

After you explore the Kukkiwon and have your Taekwondo fantasy realized to see the heart of Taekwondo worldwide you can relax as you will somewhat be disappointed in the fact the Kukkiwon is not at all impressive as a building and is boring…but still, YOU DID IT! Take tons of photos and be proud of your black belt rank! I am! Even though it is not very impressive I still like going an I still feel a Taekwondo connection. The next thing to do is go to the KSD store. Walk out in front of the Kukkiwon and turn left down the street and you will walk down a small hill right into the KSD martial arts store. You can buy Taekwondo gear. They usually sell Nike, Adidas, Star, and KSD brand equipment. They have cheap kicking paddles for 17 bucks. Cheaper than the Mooto store. They have some patches and cool t-shirts of the Kukkiwon for very cheap. There are cheap Taekwondo shoes and doboks. You can buy belts and more. The store is more plain than the Mooto store but you need to price shop and check everything out. After you leave the Kukkiwon make sure to buy what you need in the Mooto shop. Buy doboks, get an embroidered belt ordered for pickup, buy more patches than the KSD has, buy MMA stuff, shoes whatever.

Enjoy your time in Korea as a Taekwondoin and make sure you tour the Kukkiwon. You can walk in on your own. It is open to the public. When the Korean Kukkiwon people see foreigners they smile and nod or bow some and are happy to have you. But hardly any speak English so you have to ask for help and they will walk around until they find someone who speaks English and you can ask them what you want.

Finally, make sure that when you come to Korea and visit the Kukkiwon you have time. In the evening they usually have a free Kukkiwon Demo Team show you can just watch. It is top notch and really fun even if it includes some stupid Taekwon-dance crap and slly stuff. The flying kicks are amazing and the poomsae looks tight and it pumps you up. Enjoy it! It is entertainment.

Right now though they have The Greatest Taekwondo Show which is a huge demo which costs 40,000W (about $40 and if you have a dan ID card you get a discount for about 20 bucks). I think I will go to this show sometime just to check it out. This is a special event that has been running for weeks now. Maybe after they finish up they will go back to the free Kukkiwon Demo Team shows again. I am not sure.

 

I Was Able To Train With And Spar Lee Dong Hee

        This month I was able to train with Lee Dong Hee and spar him. If you do not know he is sort of a Taekwondo YouTube celebrity in his own right. He always uploads interesting videos showing a serious combative nature of martial arts. He is a 5th dan black belt and a former Korean Tiger demo team member. So his days of Taekwon-dancing with sexy Taekwondo girls is far behind him and now his goal is real self defense and combat.

        Here are some videos of our day training. The first video is showing an immovable stance to develop proper tensing of muscles, and proper relaxing of muscles in order to keep your center balanced and learn to use your leg and arms for more powerful strikes.

The second video are clips from our sparring session. I had a great time and Master Lee is a great fighter! He is the type of Taekwondo master to enjoy training with. He has a very down to earth attitude and is easy going. You can simply talk to him and enjoy your time.

Of course we did not to no contact and were play fighting. It was just to go through motions and have fun and work on stuff. This is good training to keep you healthy.

Popular Machado BJJ Black Belt Gives Respect To Taekwondo

        I thought this was pretty interesting. Jean Machado who runs TheMachLife YouTube channel that makes many comedy videos about BJJ, the martial arts, and other topics did one on Taekwondo. I thought it was going to be a video making fun of Taekwondo, but instead I was delighted to find out he instead was showing how amazing Taekwondo is and how it deserves respect. That is very encouraging to me and it is great more BJJ guys are becoming open minded about martial arts. I guess he was really a brown belt when he made this video, but he is now a black belt. Watch the video:

Earning My 1st Stripe In BJJ in Korea

        I received my 1st stripe in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Korea. Apparently the name plate on the wall already had 1 stripe added to it in the gym. But I never got it physically put  my belt. But my instructor finally put it on and so I am official now. YAY! I feel good earning my very first rank in BJJ.

So now I am  Checkmat 1st stripe white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. SO COOL! I feel like I have capable ground fighting techniques and am able to defend myself in a real life situation. Grappling knowledge has really helped me out in my martial arts journey. I have a great instructor at Fight Gallery in Bucheon who teaches very cool stuff.

I Passed My 4th Dan Test In Korea

        I am proud to announce that I passed my 4th dan test in Korea. It was a great experience and such a relief! Finally after nearly 21 years I am a 4th dan black belt, master level, in Taekwondo. Master Jeong helped me register for this and drove me to the location to test. I am so thankful for him!

        The test is split up into 4 sections; 5 if you count basic motions as separate from poomsae. The longest part of the test is waiting for your time to perform as you sit there. Once you start the actual test it is very fast and only lasts about 30 minutes. It is rapid pace and you end up doing everything immediately. How it works is they separate everyone into groups. About 10 people in each group. Once they call your group you line up and perform.

        First, we did some basic motions and kicks back and fourth. They call all of the words out in Korean and expect you to know what they want you to do. So we did various blocks and a few strikes. Then we did 3 kicks. Only front kick, round kick and side kick That was it. After the basics they command you to do poomsae and they have 2 forms chosen. Everyone the entire test does the exact same motions and poomsae. Nothing is different from anyone else. This time they had us perform Keumgang and Taebaek. Lower dan levels had to do Koryo instead of Taebaek. But for us higher dan grades we did those 2 forms. After forms you are told to move to the other side of the room. The room is set up kind of like a tournament, but with only 2 rings. The first ring is for basics and poomsae, and the other side of the room is for sparring. For sparring they will have about 4 matches at once going on. Right away you put on sparring gear. You wear the full gear including a groin cup and mouth piece. But you do not have to wear the WTF tournament feet pads and gloves. You simply have to wear the basic arm guards, shin guards, hogu, head gear, groin cup, and mouth guard. They provided the hogu and head gear. You had to provide the rest of the gear. We then sparred. It’s supposed to be 1 minute of sparring and that is it, but my match went on for maybe 40 seconds. I think they count the 1 minute when the referee calls out the command before you even start fighting. I had to fight a tall guy who was bigger. It was kind of intimidating, but it was ok and I just fought like I was in a tournament. Master Jeong told me not to try and hurt people and not to go all out but in the heat of battle I felt like I had to actually fight. It was okay and no one got hurt. It just feels like a tournament and you have those nerves before you fight. After we sparred and did our thing the other guy was nice and very respectful to me and bowed to me and shook my hand. It was cool. Finally after sparring we had to break a brick. The brick was plastic. About 5 people in a line had to either break a plastic brick or plastic boards. The bricks and boards are supposed to be made to be as strong as the actual things. It is not easy to break the plastic bricks as they are very hard. But of course even a teenager can break them. I broke my brick the first try. I believe you get 2 or 3 times to try and break them. I am not sure, but I heard that breaking is not mandatory and you can still pass without it. So if you cannot break the brick you can still pass if you did well on other parts of the test. After the breaking technique there was  written portion of the test which was a multiple choice paper to fill out with 1 essay question at the end. All of the questions had things to do with Taekwondo history, philosophy, Olympic rules, theoretical knowledge of techniques and such. It was all in Korean and Master Jeong had to read it for me and explain it all in English. After I filled it out I handed it in and I was done. Boom! Test completed!

        Whew! After I did the brick breaking I was awarded a certificate of excellence and a gold medal for performing with top quality, especially for poomsae. They did not give these out to everyone. Only a couple of people got them in each division. I received the award for the adults testing for high dan rank.

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They printed out the certificate right there because they added my name on it, and spelled my name wrong but it is ok and I am so grateful to be acknowledged as a great Taekwondoin. To be acknowledged by the Koreans is so wonderful! I am so proud of myself and Master Jeong really taught me well!

        The Kukkiwon promotion test is not usually held at the actual Kukkiwon anymore. The only people who are allowed to test in Korea are residence. Either you are Korean and a citizen, or you have lived in Korea legally for 6 months. I have lived here for 6 months so I was eligible to test here. You cannot just travel to Korea and test at the Kukkiwon. They expect you to test in your home country and apply by mail. Also, in Korea you can actually fail the test. Unlike in America where virtually nobody fails ever because they paid money. But even so, some of the quality of students testing I saw was very poor and in my opinion not deserving of a black belt. So they still let things slide and allow low quality people to pass the test apparently. Hopefully, this changes. But if you do really, really bad or cannot remember the form or something, you can fail. That is what I have heard. The test is run in a strict way like the military. They yell commands and have you line up and bow. You are then told to move to other areas fast. It is very serious and strict. Testing is usually held in various regions of Korea. For whatever province you live in, that is where you will test. Our test is in Gyeong Gi-do and the city was Hanam. So it was held by the Gyeong Gi-do Taekwondo Association (GTA). Kind of like how in America each state has it’s own Taekwondo association under the USAT. In Korea it is all under the authority of the KTA. But yes, they do still hold promotion tests in the actual Kukkiwon, but not as much as they used to. It is mainly an office place and a place for special events such as demos they do every night for the general public.

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Receiving my new belt for 4th dan from Master Jeong

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        The purpose of the Kukkiwon promotion test is to check that you know the motions of Taekwondo, that you understand how to perform Taekwondo and how to actually use it. The sparring is held just to prove you can fight and know foot work and understand the sport rules as well. They also want to check your power with the breaking to show you are strong with technique. The Kukkiwon test is not to prove you are some gold medal world champion fighter or some deadly killer, but to show you have a mastery of the basics and are worthy of your dan grade. With all of the people testing, time is limited so the test is very short and straight to the point. I am sure the exam your local dojang holds for your test may or may not be much harder and more difficult. All that matters for testing is the Kukkiwon’s requirements of knowledge. Your instructor may have you do other things for him but the Kukkiwon requires just a small amount of things. That is how it is in Korea.

        I had a wonderful experience testing in Korea! I am not 4th dan and worthy of a Taekwondo master! YES!